On May 31st, 2019, Illinois passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, making it the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana through an act of the state legislature. Until then, all other states had legalized recreational cannabis through a ballot initiative submitted to citizens for a vote. In very exciting news, Illinois is now the 11th state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.
If there are no delays, legal recreational sales of marijuana will begin on January 1st, 2020. Until then, only registered medical marijuana patients will be able to purchase legal weed in the state.
Expect to see an all-inclusive recreational cannabis market coming to Illinois very soon. As of January 1st, 2020, adults 21 and over will be able to visit a licensed dispensary to purchase legal weed and take home up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, among numerous other products. Until then, legal weed in Illinois will be limited to certified medical marijuana patients only.
Registered medical marijuana patients may visit one of the state’s licensed medical dispensaries and purchase up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of cannabis flower every 2 weeks. Medical patients must designate one dispensary as their primary marijuana provider upon receiving their medical card. Patients are limited to purchasing marijuana products from their selected provider but may change the selected dispensary online with 24 hours notice. The list of dispensaries is somewhat small in Illinois for now, as strict state regulations have made state dispensary licenses difficult to obtain but this will change over time.
For now, only medical patients can have marijuana legally delivered to them. Deliveries can only be completed by state-licensed medical dispensaries, rather than delivery services like you might see in another state. Visit our store locator to find available marijuana delivery services in Illinois.
Each city in Illinois will have its own regulations when it comes to operating hours for marijuana dispensaries. Expect most Illinois dispensaries to stay open no later than 6-7 pm. Chicago dispensaries are required to close their doors by 7 pm.
Medical marijuana patients in Illinois may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower every 14 days. If you plan to purchase non-flower products such as extracts, concentrates, edibles and more, the amount of marijuana used to make the product determines the purchasing limits.
Once recreational marijuana dispensaries open their doors in 2020, state residents will be able to purchase 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrates, or THC-infused products containing up to 500mg of THC. Out of state recreational customers will be able to buy half that amount, limited to 15 grams of cannabis flower, 2.5 grams of concentrates, or 250mg of THC-infused products.
Illinois dispensaries feature a wide range of available products from THC-infused skin creams to some of the finest cannabis flower in the Great Lakes area. Every retailer will have its own menu and doing a brief investigation online will keep you from being overwhelmed on your first visit.
Rather than a statewide standard marijuana tax, Illinois has created a unique taxation system for recreational marijuana. The state will fix a tax rate based on either the THC levels of a cannabis product or the type of product being sold, with more THC equating to higher taxes. Starting in 2020, the recreational tax rate will be:
Even after recreational marijuana comes to Illinois in 2020, it may be wise to hold onto your medical marijuana card. The tax rate on medical marijuana will remain at 1% for the state sales tax. Compare that with the 10-25% tax rate imposed on recreational marijuana and a yearly medical marijuana fee will likely pay for itself after a few visits.
Currently, it is fully illegal to possess cannabis if you are not a medical marijuana patient, although it’s been decriminalized for possession under 10 grams. In 2020, this will increase to 30 grams of flower, and individuals will also be able to possess infused products containing up to 500mg of THC or 5 grams of concentrates.
Note that MMJ patients may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower at one time. If you are carrying concentrates or infused products such as edibles, the weight of the marijuana used to make the product is used to determine possession limits.
Under House Bill 1438, which legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois, cities may choose to allow cannabis consumption cafes or bars within city limits. Until then, the consumption of THC products is strictly limited to private residences only. Even once recreational marijuana becomes legal, public consumption will still be outlawed. Unfortunately, the list of places you can’t use marijuana is much longer than the list of places you can.
Areas in Illinois that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:
Areas in Illinois that DO allow the use of marijuana:
Despite the legalization of marijuana in states like Illinois, cannabis is still federally illegal. For this reason, consuming or carrying marijuana on federal lands is a big no-no. When you visit a national park, monument, forest or more, keep the weed at home.
Although the Illinois state legislature legalized recreational marijuana through HB 1438 in 2019, medical marijuana remains the only legal option for Illinois residents until 2020.
On January 1st, 2014, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act went into effect, legalizing medical marijuana in the state of Illinois. Residents who qualify may receive a recommendation from a state-licensed physician to begin purchasing legal medical marijuana in the state. Patients are required to select one dispensary as their primary cannabis provider upon receiving their medical card.
If you are a resident of Illinois, 18 years old or over with a qualifying medical condition, you may apply for a medical marijuana card in the state. Some of the qualifying conditions include:
For a complete list of qualifying conditions, click here.
If you feel that you meet these qualifications, follow these steps to receive your medical marijuana card:
Unfortunately, Illinois dispensaries will not honor out of state medical marijuana cards. Illinois medical marijuana cards cannot be obtained by non-residents. Luckily, non-residents will be able to purchase recreational marijuana starting in 2020.
If you are a medical marijuana patient, you may transport your purchased marijuana in a sealed container, out of reach of the driver. It is never ok to have an open marijuana container in the car.
If you have recently smoked or used a THC infused product, we recommend that you don’t drive. Illinois does permit individuals to drive if their blood THC level is under 5 nanograms per millimeter, essentially creating a ‘legal limit’ for weed. Having said this, it is very hard to judge intoxication levels, so we recommend opting for public transportation when consuming in the Windy City.
While marijuana will soon be recreationally legal in many states, it remains a federal crime. For this reason, you may not transport marijuana across state lines, either by car, plane or any other mode of transportation. Even if you plan to travel to another legal state, leave the weed in Illinois.
Currently, no one other than state-approved cultivators may grow marijuana in Illinois. However, starting in 2020, medical patients will be allowed to grow 5 plants in their home. Recreational users will not be allowed to grow marijuana at any time.